• Wintery sightings

    Its been a little while since we posted a recent sightings update and a lot has changed in that time!

    The berries are ripe for picking, as the winter thrushes can testify to and the first frosts are starting to hit, prompting Gary to learn how to use the heating in the office!

    But what has been gracing the reserve during the changing of the seasons?

    Recent highlights include a Whooper swan that spent yesterday in front…

    • 3 Nov 2016
  • Call of the curlew

    Thought I'd share some weekend reading with you all and share a great story about local curlew populations and the work that our colleagues (volunteers and staff) have been carrying out on our patch this year. 


    RSPB and local farmers work together to save the curlew

    Pilot project to improve habitat of threatened wading birds completed

    Thanks to enormous support from local farmers, volunteers and the generosity…

    • 30 Sep 2016
  • Off to see the lizard

    Thanks to our great team of volunteers here at Otmoor our Lizard Lounge has been given a good clear out to expose the tiles and logs. Over the next few weeks you’ll get your last chance (for this year at least) to see the common lizards that make Otmoor their home basking on these exposed logs and tiles which hold the heat from the sunlight and help the lizards reach their optimum body temperature of about 30°C…

    • 2 Sep 2016
  • A great start to the tractor list!

    June and July at Otmoor have been really busy months so apologies for the delay in updating the blog. We’re now into our tractor season so we get to see the reserve from the comfort of an air conditioned cab, which gives us some welcome relief from the relentless horseflies that are out in force this summer on the moor. Bring insect repellent if you are popping down for a visit! One of the tasks for our shiny tractor…

    • 2 Aug 2016
  • Wildflower walk CANCELLED!

    Unfortunately we have had to cancel the Wildflower Walk that we had planned to hold this Thursday 23rd June at RSPB Otmoor.


    We will be holding different events later in the summer so check our blog from time to time to see when these are. 

    Apologies to anyone who had hoped to come along. 


    • 21 Jun 2016
  • A career in conservation? Why not!

    Since last July I’ve been a voluntary Warden Intern at RSPB Otmoor. The position was advertised as a way to get all the training I’d need to be a nature reserve warden. It’s certainly delivered on that but there’s so much more that’s come with it.

    I’ve been trained in the use of various machines such as tractors and chainsaws; which basically means I’ve had the chance to play with lots of…

    • 20 Jun 2016
  • On the Tern-ing away

    Recent visitors to the second screen at the reedbed will have noticed our luxury Tern raft has been re-launched and according to our common tern population this was just in time!

    Myself, Fergus, Matthew and Ian spent a splendid morning (wader-clad) bathing in the reedbed and cleaning all the stones on the raft (that’s right – CLEANIING ALL THE STONES ON THE RAFT!!!). Fergus and Ian stood up on the raft and shovelled the…

    • 13 May 2016
  • I'll be CBC-ing you

    For the last couple of weeks at Otmoor we’ve been carrying out the five yearly Common Bird Census surveys. We have carried on doing this particular survey on Otmoor to continue adding to the data that we have built up over the years that this survey was previously done.

    So, half an hour after sun rise our hardy volunteers set off to survey along their own routes and listen out for singing, calling and displaying…

    • 12 Apr 2016
  • Springing back from winter

    Change is afoot at Otmoor!  As the weather steadily warms signs of spring are emerging while the remnants of winter remain. Our winter flocks are still present with ducks and waders in impressive numbers but many of the golden plover are starting to show their breeding plumage and it won’t be long before they leave for their nesting grounds. Redshank, garganey, and curlew have all returned to Otmoor but the occasional…

    • 24 Mar 2016
  • Hedging your bets

    One of the tasks that was on the agenda for the transition period between winter and spring was laying some sections of hedgerow. Hedgelaying can take many different forms and techniques vary from region to region and for what the end purpose is. Our efforts are focussed on creating a habitat for nesting birds as well as a structure to encourage other wildlife such as small mammals and invertebrates. For this reason we…

    • 7 Mar 2016
  • A thorny issue

    Firstly, a brief introduction. I'm Ian the new volunteer warden intern and i've been at Otmoor since early January. I've previously worked for the RSPB as a wildlife advisor and i'm looking forward to getting to grips with life on a reserve over coming months. It has been a baptism of fire, and chainsaws, so far and a steep learning curve but it has been great to work with a team of dedicated conservationists at what…

    • 10 Feb 2016
  • Limited access to Otmoor, Wednesday 10th February

    Access to RSPB Otmoor will be limited on Wednesday 10th February whilst a tree surgeon works on some low hanging trees near our car park entrance at the end of Otmoor Lane. 

    Due to this access will be limited on Wednesday morning so anyone planning a visit may want to wait until the afternoon or postpone to another day - at least it looks reasonably dry for the rest of the week! 

    Thanks for bearing with us and hopefully…

    • 9 Feb 2016
  • Skating away on the thin ice of a new day

    One of the chillier mornings on Otmoor! (Photo: Gary Smith)

    One of the chillier mornings on Otmoor! (Photo: Gary Smith)

    Whilst the winter may not have bought the constant cold weather we would expect for the start of a new year we have still had some great sightings on the reserve over the last few weeks and some of them during the most recent (albeit short lived) cold snaps.

    Our last WeBS survey showed us that all the rain we’ve had that’s been topping up…

    • 28 Jan 2016
  • Rainy season sightings

    After an extremely dry Summer, the rain has finally arrived, and it is here in style! The ditches are topping up, the fields are getting wetter and the birds are responding to the change!

    Wigeon are back in decent numbers, 300+ can be seen distributed around site or flying overhead if they are spooked. Listen out for their distinctive 'whistling' call if you seen them. Over wildfowl on the reserve include Mallard, Shoveler…

    • 19 Nov 2015
  • Much "Moor" to learn on Otmoor

    I have always been a regular of nature reserves, many of those RSPB managed. However, it was not until the start of my 3rd year at Oxford Brookes that I heard about Otmoor. A reserve just a stone’s-throw from the side of Oxford I’d been living on for two years already. My University course title was Animal Biology and Conservation and among my course-mates I’d already established a reputation of being the bird watcher…

    • 14 Sep 2015
  • Summery sightings

    Its been a while since we put a posting on here, and in turn, a lot of changes have happened on the reserve!

    Exciting recent highlights include a Red back shrike, present on the 7th in Julys meadow and giving great views at times and a Great white egret, seen on the 30th and 31st July. Bitterns are being seen regularly from the 2 reedbed screens, spend a bit of time here and you should be rewarded and a fantastic count…

    • 9 Sep 2015
  • The trials of the Turtle dove

    Is there anything more evocative than the sound of a Turtle dove ‘purring’ from a hedgerow, one of the best indicators that a British summer is finally here?

    Unfortunately, the Turtle dove is one of Britain’s fastest declining breeding bird, its numbers have gone down more than 90% since the 1970s. This is a dramatic decline of one our most beautiful birds and is considerable cause for concern amongst those…

    • 6 Jul 2015
  • The Black hairstreak

    Sometimes, we can all be forgiven for focusing on the birds at Otmoor, however, the site is important for a number of other things aswell...

    Here on Otmoor we are lucky enough to have one of Britain's rarest butterflies in resident, the Black hairstreak.

    Black hairstreak © Peter Barker

    This tiny butterfly, only recently discovered as a separate species in 1828 (recent in entomological terms!) is mainly confined…

    • 29 Jun 2015
  • Whats about at Otmoor?

    22°, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, we are overdue some nice weather after the last few miserable weeks and we are certainly experiencing it now! As the temperatures increase, the wildlife is responding brilliantly.

    So what can be seen down on Otmoor at the moment?

    The highlights are, without a doubt the showy Turtle doves that have arrived back over the last few weeks. There are at least 3 spending…

    • 19 Jun 2015
  • A warm welcome

    This week, RSPB Otmoor is saying goodbye to the current Warden, Joe Harris, who is leaving Otmoor after five years to become the new Site Manager at Langford Lowfields, one of the other fantastic reserves we have in the Midlands region.

    Joe’s main task this week (apart from clearing his desk) has been showing me (Gary Smith, the new Warden) the ropes around Otmoor and Church Wood, which we also help look after.…

    • 2 Jun 2015
  • Chick pics

    Otmoor is amazing for bird life at the moment. 8 hobbies were dashing about over the reserve yesterday catching insects, a marsh harrier was hunting over the reedbed and common terns were elegantly gliding around looking for small fish. Swifts and swallows swooped overhead. Skylarks were singing, a turtle dove was purring, redshank and lapwings were calling and snipe were drumming.

    Lots of chicks are wandering around…

    • 22 May 2015
  • Dusk Chorus Walk 16th May

    Making a change from the standard Dawn Chorus walk, on 16th May we are holding a Dusk Chorus walk. Starting at 19:30, we will be meeting in the reserve car park before heading off around the reserve. Nature is never predictable, but with the walk spanning the period as sunlight starts to fade on the moor, we hope to see and hear an amazing array of Otmoor wildlife. There could be snipe drumming, owls hooting and bats…

    • 7 May 2015
  • The changing seasons!

    I love this time of the year, you can go down onto the reserve and everyday is different. New birds are singing everyday, the thorns are coming into flower and the flowers are starting to pop out.

    So what can you expect if you come for a visit to Otmoor at the moment?

    The changing seasons are a great time to get out and see what is about. The crossover of our Winter visitors and the returning breeding birds means the…

    • 17 Mar 2015
  • Spring-like sightings

    It has been an exciting few weeks down on Otmoor recently, there are Snowdrops coming up, the birds are starting to sing and pair up and I even took my woolly hat off today!

    So what has been seen on site recently?

    Wildfowl are still using the site in large numbers, Wigeon flocks can be seen on most of the pools, some flocks comprise of over 400 individuals. Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted duck and Pochard are still…

    • 20 Feb 2015
  • Return of the berry munchers

    Our most recent WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count was carried out on 24/11. Bird numbers are slowly building and it was great seeing my first pintail of the winter looking very elegant sat out in the middle of Big Otmoor. 

    Mute swan 15
    Greylag goose 203
    Canada goose 401
    Wigeon 412
    Gadwall 6
    Teal  228
    Mallard 105
    Pintail 1
    Shoveler 53
    Pochard 14
    Tufted …
    • 1 Dec 2014